By Anna Cook
Many of us are familiar with the warnings about the negative effects of studying while listening to music, yet why is it we so often prefer to accomplish schoolwork with our headphones on? There is a common belief that music in the workplace and classrooms distracts individuals and auditory pleasure detracts from learning. However, studies of patients with visual hemineglect suggest auditory satisfaction and productivity may be linked.
Hemineglect results from damage to one of the brain’s hemispheres, causing an inability to perceive stimulus on the contralateral side of space. Individuals with hemineglect struggle to see half of their visual field, voluntarily move half of their body and perceive sound occurring on their effected half. In this study, patients listening to their preferred music displayed improved abilities to carry out the perception and detection tasks they initially struggled with. While listening to music, more than just their auditory regions were activated. This suggests that listening to music may be an effective mental exercise for those with hemineglect by increasing function in neglected areas. Music may also improve the healthy brain’s overall attentive and cognitive abilities.
Are satisfaction and productivity linked? For those with hemineglect, many suffer visual deficit as well as auditory, motor, and somatosensory deficits in half of their bodies. In such a sensory-dependent world, it must be extremely confusing and frustrating to process such a limited amount of one’s environment. Allowing patients to select their preferred music may restore a sense of control over their surroundings. I believe this study suggests it is an innately human need to feel somewhat in control of one’s environment
What does this mean in terms of music and attention? As studies continue to prove and disprove the efficacy of music as an attentive stimulant, I think a subcategory worth studying is the positive effects of security in one’s environment and one’s mental focus. Music may increase schoolwork success by providing a sense of control and comfort during studying.
Essentially, you should use headphones at your own digression.
WELCOME, UMICH SCIENTISTAS!
SORT BY TAG
The Network for Pre-Professional Women in Science and Engineering
The Scientista Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) -- Donate!